I’ve been writing about Microsoft products since 1994 or so, I guess, and the first time I visited the Microsoft campus was in 1996, when I learned about the first version of Visual Studio. (Which was code named Boston, by the way. Yet another fact missing from Wikipedia.) Since then, I’ve visited here dozens of times and met with all kinds of people from all kinds of product groups. It’s generally been a good time, and a valuable use of time, for whatever that’s worth.
This week, I’m back, but for a sharply different experience. I’m having the requisite meetings, of course, and my regular job doesn’t come to a screeching halt, so I still need to show up for WinInfo each day, and the SuperSite and blog and so on. And I’m recording the podcast tomorrow (Wednesday) because I’m flying home on Thursday. Which is earlier than I wanted to come home, but I’m going away again on Monday. So it’s been (and will continue to be) busy.
But back to this week. Much of my time these three days has (and will be) spent alone in a room, with a guy from Microsoft’s PR company, and with a Windows Phone. I’m writing a book, and the devices won’t be available to anyone outside the company any time soon, so this is the only way to spend serious time with a device. And heck, it was my idea.
As I noted previously, there’s a lot I can’t discuss. I’m OK with this deal because I need the access, and the long-term benefits outweigh the short-term desire to spill the beans, but honestly I’m not even sure what the secrecy is all about. That’s their decision though, so we’ll all have to live with it.
Face time with the device has been very valuable and is helping enormously. I’ve been able to document how this thing works, and I’ll expand that documentation into book form over time, using my notes, and some still photos and videos. None of this stuff is of sufficient quality for publication, but it’s perfect for background material.
If I can’t get a device before the end of June, I’ll try come back and do this again. Hopefully by that time what I’ll be doing is filling in the gaps and not providing a foundation. But this week has been very valuable for establishing that foundation, and seeing this device do its thing with my data has been both eye-opening and, God help me, delightful. It’s just a neat system. I don’t think I’m violating the spirit or letter of my NDA by saying so.
My goal with this book and blog has always been to be as open as possible about the whole process, from the money to the time suck to the futility of it all. But I have to work within the confines established by Microsoft in this case, of course. Rest assured, we’ll discuss whatever details I’ve learned this week when it’s possible to do so.